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'Coming forward as a victim of rape is very difficult as it triggers shame and blame'

What services does the Dublin Rape Crisis Centre offer and who avails of them?

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THE DUBLIN RAPE Crisis Centre is often the first point of contact for victims of rape and sexual assault.

According to its annual report, over 12,000 calls were handled by the organisation last year, the highest figure since the publication of various reports into clerical sex abuse in 2009.

The centre aims to give its clients support and information as well as empathy and a safe space to speak.

CEO of Dublin Rape Crisis Centre, Ellen O’Malley Dunlop, said:

Rape and sexual assault are very difficult crimes for people to come forward and say ‘I am a victim of this crime’.

“It triggers off terrible shame and very often blame – the victim blames themselves – so it’s very good these people are coming forward and availing of the services.”

Service Findings

The Dublin Rape Crisis Centre offers counselling and psychotherapy services for clients.

Almost half (48%) of clients were victims of childhood sexual abuse.

In 21% of childhood sexual abuse (CSA) incidents – additional types of violence were also reported, predominantly psychological abuse and physical abuse.

The remaining 52% of clients were victims of adult rape, sexual assault, and sexual harassment and 27% of those clients also reported additional violence, predominantly physical abuse, psychological abuse and harassment/intimidation.

Who avails of the service?

Almost a quarter of calls to the DRCC last year were made by men but less than half of the male victims availed of the centre’s counselling services.

Just 10% of DRCC clients were male while 90% were female.

Last year, 512 clients were seen for individual counselling – of these, 284 or 56% were new clients for that year.

Of the new clients – 129 (45%) disclosed 163 incidents which included other forms of violence, in addition to the main abuse.

The majority of clients (82%) were from the greater Dublin area, while 18% were from 12 other counties.

Crisis Appointments 

The therapy team made 4,160 individual appointments available in 2013 and 3,211 of them were delivered.

Nearly a quarter (23%) were crisis appointments for men and women who had experienced recent rape or sexual assault within the past six months.

The remaining 77% were assessment appointments for past rape, sexual assault, sexual harassment and CSA.

Funding

Angela McCarthy, Head of Clinical Services at DRCC said: “This has been a tough year in terms of delivering crisis counselling and long-term therapy, because of a reduction of 18% in therapists staffing levels in the first quarter of 2013.

It is very worrying to know how we are going to sustain these essential services when the grant from Government has been substantially cut on an annual basis since 2008.

“In 2013 the grant was further cut in the middle of the year which meant that we had to go back and revise the already depleted budget.”

CEO, O’Malley Dunlop, says funding has been cut by 30% in the past number of years adding that the DRCC needs the statutory funding to be reinstated.

“We are calling on the Minister to reinstate the funding that they gave us back in 2008, that would sustain us.”

Anyone affected by this story can call the Dublin Rape Crisis Centre’s national 24 hour helpline on 1800 77 88 88.

Read: The Dublin Rape Crisis Centre reports ‘disturbing increase’ of sexual violence>

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